Facebook plans to change its name, shifting its focus to building a virtual universe. This step may not save the scandals that Facebook has caused over the years.
Facebook is in the midst of a media nightmare not seen since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016. Next week, the company plans to launch a new name, focusing on expanding into the virtual universe, also known as the metaverse.
According to Business Insider, it’s a “genius” and “classic” move-in branding strategy, but it may not be enough to save the reputation of the empire run by Mark Zuckerberg.
Efforts to save the image.
“Basically, the questions surrounding the future of metaverse only save Facebook from public backlash,” Ashley Cooksley, North America managing director of The Social Element, a social media management company, said of Facebook’s new strategy.
At the heart of Facebook’s recent media crisis is a series of documents provided to the WSJby former employee Frances Haugen.
Internal information shows that Facebook is well aware of the platform’s harm to users, especially teenagers. From here, the legislature has more grounds to set regulations for tech giants.
Since the scandal began to emerge, Facebook has made more and more moves to show a strategic shift to the metaverse, distracting public opinion.
“Metaverse” is a term borrowed from science fiction, referring to a future version of the Internet. There, people access it with VR and AR technology, rather than computers or smartphones. In July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly announced his idea to make Facebook a virtual universe.
It’s unclear which name Zuckerberg will choose for the upcoming plan, and Facebook is likely to continue to exist beneath a larger structure. This is similar to Google’s 2015 decision to restructure the group. They created parent company Alphabet, which manages member businesses such as Google, X lab, Calico, Waymo.
Anne Olderog, senior leader of consulting firm Vivaldi with 20 years of experience in brand strategy, said Facebook is trying to redirect the story from its current problems to the metaverse, an exciting and promising place. “And really, no one understands the metaverse, which is also a wise move,” Olderog said.
Speaking to Business Insider,Eric Schiffer, CEO of media and technology company The Patriarch Organization, said Facebook will continue to face its troubles. Still, the platform survives thanks to its resources, political understanding, and lobbying power.
“It’s not a kiss of death for Mark Zuckerberg, it’s a wise move to turn to the metaverse and erase some of the stains of the past. It also opens up a new space that is likely to dominate for the next few decades,” Schiffer added.
It doesn’t solve the basic problem.
Olderog said Facebook’s focus on metaverses as well as rebranding was a “great” idea, but not enough to help the platform address the root of the current crisis.
“Finally, you need to do the basic job of solving problems. Because otherwise, you reproduce those same mistakes at the metaverse level,” Olderog commented.
Reputation damage isn’t the only thing Facebook is worried about.
According to the leaked document, Facebook identifies children and teenagers as their very important users in the face of competition from rivals such as TikTok. That prompted some critics to warn.
Professor Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at the University of Oxford who has studied children’s interactions with social media and video games, said the leaked document clearly demonstrates Facebook’s view of attracting younger users.
“I’m surprised they didn’t buy Epic Games. That was my first reaction when I read the studies,” Przybylski added.
Przybylski isn’t sure Facebook will deliver the metaverse as promised, but he says the idea has a lot of potentials to grab children’s attention, through virtual reality and game-like experiences.
However, this is a potential danger. Facebook has the potential to directly impact children’s real lives through a more diverse virtual world than today’s social networking platform.